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Lolo Soetoro

Lolo Soetoro was the stepfather of Barack Obama, the President-elect of the United States of America. He was a native of Indonesia.

Soetoro was the ninth out of ten children of Martodihardjo who hailed from Yogyakarta. During the Indonesian National Revolution, when Indonesia won independence from the Dutch, Soetoro's father and eldest brother were murdered, after which the Dutch army burned down the family's home. Soetoro fled with his mother into the countryside to survive.

Later in life, Soetoro would obtain a scholarship from his workplace to study for a master's degree at the University of Hawaii. It was here that he met Ann Durham, also a student at the university. Around 1966 Soetoro and Dunham married, but in due course Soetoro had to return to Indonesia when the government called back the entirety of student’s that were studying abroad. About a year later, Dunham and six-year-old Barack followed Soetoro to Indonesia, and the family resided in Menteng Dalam, Jakarta. In 1970 Soetoro and Dunham had a daughter, Maya.

After returning to Indonesia, Soetoro first worked for the army. Shortly thereafter, he obtained a job as a government relations consultant with Mobil Oil. President-elect Obama describes Soetoro as ‘well-mannered, even-tempered, and easy with people’, in spite of the struggles that Soetoro had to endure after he was forced to return from Hawaii to Indonesia.

After their years together in Indonesia, Ann Dunham left Soetoro in 1972, returning to Hawaii and reuniting with her son, who had been living in Hawaii, so that he could attend high school in America. Soetoro and Dunham saw each other sporadically in the 1970s but did not live together again. They were divorced in 1980.

After the divorce, Soetoro married Erna Kustina. She bore him two children, Yusuf Aji Soetoro (b. 1981) and Rahayu Nurmaida Soetoro (b. 1984).

Soetoro died of a liver ailment in 1987 at age 52, and was buried in Tanah Kusir Cemetary, South Jakarta.


 

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